United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
DANNY D. RICHARDS, Plaintiff,
RODERICK J. DUGGER and UNITED ROAD SERVICES, INC., Defendants.
L. COLLIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case arises from a rear-end collision involving
Plaintiff's van and Defendants' tractor-trailer.
Defendants disclosed Brian M. Boggess, P.E., as their
accident reconstruction and biomechanical expert on August
16, 2019. (Doc. 43.) On October 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed a
motion to exclude Mr. Boggess's expert testimony. (Doc.
68.) Plaintiff argues Mr. Boggess's opinions on the
precise cause of Plaintiff's injuries should be excluded
because Mr. Boggess is a biomechanical engineer, not a
doctor. (Id.) Plaintiff also requests additional
time to supplement his motion due to the delay in scheduling
Mr. Boggess's deposition. (Id.) Defendants
respond that Mr. Boggess is not testifying to the medical
cause of Plaintiff's injuries, but rather the kinetic
forces at play in the accident and the types of injuries
those forces would typically produce. (Doc. 81.) Defendants
further explain they timely disclosed Mr. Boggess as an
expert and acted reasonably in scheduling Mr. Boggess's
deposition and thus Plaintiff should not be permitted to
supplement his motion. (Id.) Plaintiff has replied.
(Doc. 82.) The Court finds oral argument on Plaintiff's
motion is not necessary. For the reasons set out below, the
Court will DENY Plaintiff's motion (Doc.
Federal Rule of Evidence 702, a witness with sufficient
knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may
testify in the form of an opinion if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
fulfilling its gatekeeping role, a district court must first
determine if an expert's testimony is reliable and then
determine if it is relevant. Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589 (1993). “[T]he
gatekeeping inquiry must be tied to the facts of a particular
case . . . depending on the nature of the issue, the
expert's particular expertise, and the subject of his
testimony.” Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v.
Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 150 (1999) (internal
quotations omitted). Further, “[i]t is the proponent of
the testimony that must establish its admissibility by a
preponderance of proof.” Nelson v. Tenn. Gas
Pipeline Co., 243 F.3d 244, 251 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592 n.10).
Supreme Court in Daubert set out a flexible,
non-definitive checklist to consult in evaluating
reliability: (1) whether the expert's theory can be
tested; (2) whether the theory has been subject to peer
review and publication; (3) the theory's known error
rate; and (4) whether the theory has been generally accepted.
See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593-94. Courts have also
noted other relevant factors that may arise, including:
whether the opinions were developed solely for purposes of
litigation, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 43
F.3d 1311, 1317 (9th Cir. 1995), whether there is too great
an analytical gap between the data and the expert opinion,
Gen. Elec. Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136, 147 (1997),
and whether the expert has accounted for obvious alternative
explanations, Ambrosini v. Labarraque, 101 F.3d 129,
140 (D.C. Cir. 1996).
addition to determining reliability, a court must ensure the
expert's testimony is relevant. Often referred to as
“fit, ” an expert's testimony is relevant if
the testimony would be helpful to the jury in resolving
issues in dispute. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 591.